One-game playoff

From BR Bullpen

A One-game playoff is an extra game tacked on to the end of the regular season to determine which of two teams who have finished with the same record get to advance to the postseason. Statistics from such playoff games are counted with regular-season statistics. Until 2011, a playoff was only used when there was only one spot available in the postseason for the two teams; in cases where one team was going to make the postseason as the division winner and the other as the wild card, tiebreakers were used to determine which team earned which spot. This changed with the introduction of the Wild Card Game, as winning a division title became a much more significant prize. The first time this a one-game playoff was staged between two teams already qualified for the postseason was in 2018, when two such games took place on the same day, with the winners both getting home field advantage in the Division Series, and the two losing teams headed to the Wild Card Game the next day.

The American League has always used a one-game playoff to settle who will advance in these situations. Prior to the advent of divisional play in 1969, the National League used a three-game playoff to settle entry into the World Series. With the adoption of divisions, however, the NL switched to a one-game playoff format as well.

American League one-game playoffs:

National League one-game playoffs:

Further Reading[edit]

  • Matt Kelly, Daniel Kramer and Chad Thornburg: "A complete breakdown of MLB tiebreaker games", mlb.com, September 30, 2018. [1]